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Written on: Sunday February 24th, 2008

A journal entry from: ASIA PART II

20 February 2008

Gokarna, Karnataka

'No Name' Guesthouse

So after several near head-on collisions and dangerously close fender benders, I surprisingly and thankfully arrived at my destination. The journey was your typical adrenaline blasting, edge of your seat ordeal. Frightening, but yet all too stimulating. I shared my masala mix with the old woman beside me. She made me smile, her and her coke bottle eyeglasses, as she continuously did the downward head bob and would jolt awake at every blow of the horn, irritated that she couldn't catch a solid sleep. The lady to my left was kind enough to share a bunch of bananas and she even offered to hold my bag for me. She pretended to take my big beautiful rose that was given to me, but returned it before she got off, it was all too endearing.

The last stop - Gokarna. A sleepy town with a colorful atmosphere, it remains to be one of the most sacred sites for Hindus in South India. A mini hike over a barren headland brings you to a series of four perfect beaches with the foothills of the Western Ghats as a backdrop. One dirt cheap veg thali to satisfy my appetite upon arriving and several cups of chai too many, I ended up setting up shop in town just for tonight and I plan to scope out all four beaches first thing in the morning. I managed to sort out a grandiose room at a local's house, complete with a 'kitchenette' and attached bathroom for only Rs100/night. Coincidentally, my neighboring couple are also from Edmonton and have been finding themselves in Gokarna for many years now.

Patience. Tolerance. Acceptance. Discipline. Words we hear too frequently between travelers conversing, yet it is these qualities, among many others that are necessary for one's survival on this subcontinent. India truly is an extraordinary place and being here opens many doors and compels you to discover all that you possibly can. I look forward to my journey ahead. On that note, this night has long been over.

22 February 2008

Ganga Place, Kudle Beach

So I didn't have much luck relocating to the beach my first two nights. No hut. No shack. No vacancy. And where there was space available there was no electricity. Although I couldn't quite get into the vibe of Om beach. The vehement Israelis and obnoxious Indians steered me in the opposite direction. Eventually, an ideal place turned up on Kudle beach yesterday. Neatly tucked away, nestled on the cliffside, Ganga place will be home for the next week. Each place has a raised veranda that faces the beach and there's funky artwork painted across the front of each room. There's a star lantern hanging on mine that you can spot from a distance from across the beach. Last night was just right as the tiny star cut-outs casted their shadows against the wall and I fell asleep to the sound of the waves crashing against the shore.

I received word from Asli last night, Nick and herself are also kicking it on the coast and have made Om beach as their lodging. I plan to link with them as soon as possible. On my first night, I met David, a French rockclimber/photographer, living and working in Karnataka. We chatted over our thalis and chai and learned about my Nikon. Basically, I feel ashamed that I haven't mastered the technical grit and have now vowed towards studying my camera manual inside and out during my time here in Gokarna. My other mission entails searching, purchasing and setting-up a hammock, it's time to get on top of that and take care of business.